Meet the Sheriff
Milwaukee County Sheriff
Denita R. Ball
Sheriff Denita R. Ball was elected the 66th Sheriff of Milwaukee County on Nov. 8, 2022, making her the first female sheriff in the history of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, and the first African American female sheriff in Wisconsin.
Sheriff Ball is committed to servant leadership and has pledged the Sheriff's Office will protect the citizens and workers of, and visitors to, Milwaukee County with professionalism, integrity, fairness and respect. Sheriff Ball leads nearly 600 members, including more than 250 deputy sheriffs, 160 correctional officers, and hundreds of civilian support and administrative staff who are tasked with the safety and security of the 150-plus miles of the Milwaukee County freeway system, more than 150 county parks, the Milwaukee County Courthouse Complex, extended circuit court system, public safety building, Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, and numerous other county facilities and properties.
A native of Arkansas, Sheriff Ball holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, a master's degree in criminal justice administration from the UW–Milwaukee, and is a doctorate of philosophy in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. Her doctoral dissertation is titled "Lethal Force: A Police Officer's Deadly Experience."
Sheriff Ball is also a graduate of several prestigious leadership programs, including the Department of Homeland Security's Leadership Academy (2019), Southern Police Institute Chief Executive Leadership Course (2007), the FBI National Academy (2004), the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Executive Development Course, which was sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Department of Justice (1995), and Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command (1994).
Before being elected, Sheriff Ball had served since 2019 as chief deputy sheriff/undersheriff of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the agency.
Prior to her service with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Ball was a high-ranking member of the Milwaukee Police Department and retired at the rank of deputy inspector after 25 years of distinguished service.
While a member of the police department, Sheriff Ball commanded Police District Four, the Professional Performance Division (Internal Affairs), and the Sensitive Crimes Division. Additionally, Sheriff Ball organized, implemented and was the first commander of the Neighborhood Task Force, a group of 200 officers from the following units: Street Crimes
(Gang and Narcotic Officers), Tactical Enforcement (SWAT), Motorcycle, Marine Operations (Boats) Canine, and Mounted Patrol and supervised their strategic deployment to high crime areas, which resulted in double-digit decreases in crime.
Sheriff Ball has been married to Odell for 34 years; they have three children and one granddaughter. She is a long-time member of the Providence Baptist Church and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) maintains the county jail, provides bailiff services for the cirucit court, patrols the freeway, provides law enforcement presence at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport and the Milwaukee County Institutions Complex. We maintain the peace throughout the County.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office was founded in 1835. It is the oldest Sheriff's Office in the State of Wisconsin. The Sheriff's constitutional mandates include keeping and maintaining the peace throughout the county, maintaining the county jail, providing bailiff services for circuit courts and serving legal process. In the interest of flexible and efficient service to Milwaukee County citizens the Sheriff's Office is comprised of three bureaus: Administration, Police Services and Detention Services.
The Sheriff's Office, using community policing as an organizational philosophy, remains sensitive to the needs of the community. Recognizing that safety is a community responsibility, the Sheriff's Office engages the community. Knowing that our effectiveness is determined by public cooperation, the Sheriff's Office goal is to identify community leaders and work to facilitate the efforts of neighborhood leaders. The greater the degree of public involvement in addressing community problems the greater the potential for effective problem solving.
On Oct. 23, 2002, the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office dedicated a new state-of-the-art-training academy located at 9225 S. 68th St. Franklin, Wisconsin. The academy is a 46,500-square-foot facility that includes eight classrooms, two lecture halls, a physical training room, mock training cells, three standard pistol ranges with a total of 20 firing points and an indoor 360-degree tactical firearms training room. Four of the classrooms can be joined and expanded to seat between 20 to 200 individuals. The two lecture halls each have seating for 57 people and can be joined so that up to 130 people can observe the same lecturer. The tactical firearms training room, or shoot house, allows realistic scenario based training.
Adjacent to the training academy is a memorial dedicated to the 13 Milwaukee County Sheriff's deputies who died in the line of duty while in service to the Milwaukee County community. The statute, titled "Call to Duty," sits atop a five-foot high octagonal marble base where each of the officer's names is inscribed. The site was selected because it can be viewed from the academy's main hall and will constantly remind deputies and students of the sacrifices all officers make to the community.